Hindustan, the Hindi daily from the HT Media stable, provided a platform to several eminent personalities from various domains to discuss the ‘dasha’ and ‘disha’ of Uttar Pradesh for 2020 under the aegis of ‘Samagam’. The event was held in Lucknow on October 27, 2009. IBN7 was the event partner.
Speaking on the conceptualisation of Samagam, Shashi Shekhar, Editor-in-Chief, Hindustan, said, “Being a responsible newspaper, we thought that we should take this initiative. We are the leading newspaper of Bihar and Jharkhand, and our growth has been very rapid in Uttar Pradesh as well. It’s not just business for us, but also a social responsibility. Through Samagam, we are providing a platform to bring all the leaders together and to think cohesively.”
Prior to Lucknow, the Hindustan Samagam was held in Patna. Speakinng on the event in Patna, Shekhar said, “We could bring together Laloo Prasad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on one dais to discuss Bihar’s unpleasant situation. Bihar is the only state from where India gets many of its administrators and the state plays a big role in the country’s politics, yet the state is grappling with a plethora of problems.”
“Same is the case with Uttar Pradesh. This state has given many Prime Ministers to the country, yet its present situation is pitiable. These two states are very important. Indian leadership cannot be defined without these states,” he added.
He further said that there should be better coordination between various media platforms – be it print, TV, radio or online. Only then would media be able to work better towards social responsibility.
Shekhar added, “Hindustan is running polls to know the viewpoint of the common people. People can send in their suggestions through letters as well. In this way we are able to build a greater connect among the public, the government and the administration. We will be taking the Samagam platform to other states as well.”
‘Think above party line politics’
Samagam saw the participation of several prominent personalities, including filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqui, former DGP (UP) KL Gupta, social activist and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey, MPs Jayant Chaudhary and Jitin Prasada, CPI (M) leader Subhashini Ali, and Yugratna Srivastava, a 9th standard student and environmentalist, among others, who presented their Vision 2020 for Uttar Pradesh.
Young Yugratna Srivastava captivated the audience with her suggestions. She drew attention to the state of education and environment in Uttar Pradesh, besides speaking on the growing population and power situation in the state.
Jayant Choudhary stressed, “We need a change in our administrative and judicial services. Women’s education in state also needs more attention.” He strongly called for a stop to all political interference in bureaucracy.
Speaking at the event, Jitin Prasada noted, “We need not change our system, but we do need to change our thinking. We have to connect rural and urban India and think beyond politics.”
Appreciating Hindustan’s initiative, Mukhtar Abbas Naqui said, “People’s thinking has changed in the state and I am sure that Uttar Pradesh will change too.”
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt pointed out, “We need to change our present to change our future.”
Concluding the discussions, Shashi Shekhar said that Samagam would continue to bring ‘you and us’ together to discuss ways to make the country better.